Lakers player grades: L.A. falls flat at home to the Kings

The Los Angeles Lakers lost to the Sacramento Kings, 116-111, on Wednesday, and they were their own worst enemy.

After going up by 14 late in the first quarter, L.A. lost its lead in the second quarter because they stopped defending, rebounding and running, as Sacramento hit the offensive boards. The deficit ballooned to as many as 14 in the third period, but LeBron James and company made a run to make things very close down the stretch.

Yet in the final minutes, the Lakers’ offense slowed to a halt. They milked the shot clock and forced themselves to take low-percentage shots at the end of the shot clock. Still, with 7.0 seconds left, Kendrick Nunn hit a 3-pointer to pull the Lakers to within one.

Right away, the Kings attempted to fast-break, and instead of getting back quickly, the Lakers committed a clear path foul on Richaun Holmes, who made both free throws, and right afterward, they fouled Trey Lyles, who made two more to give Sacramento a 116-111 win.

The Lakers have lost four of their last five games, and they have failed to take advantage of their home-heavy January schedule, as they have lost three of the four games on their current homestand.

LeBron James: B+

Statistically, James did well with 32 points, nine assists, eight rebounds, one steal and one blocked shot. But it wasn’t an efficient night for him, as he shot just 11-of-25 overall and 2-of-9 from 3-point range.

Down the stretch, as the game was there for the taking, James walked the ball upcourt and didn’t attack, instead largely settling for contested outside jumpers near the end of the shot clock.

One has to conclude that James was one of the culprits in L.A.’s loss, as he went just 1-of-7 in the final quarter.

Troy Brown Jr: B

Brown contributed decently across the board. He went 2-of-4 from the field and finished with four points, four rebounds, three assists and two steals in 22 minutes.

Thomas Bryant: B

Bryant made a decent contribution as well with eight points on 4-of-7 shooting, four rebounds and two assists in 19 minutes.

With his production falling a bit in recent games, his minutes have come down somewhat.

Patrick Beverley: D

Beverley was just 1-of-4 from the field and had just three points, two assists, one rebound and one steal in 27 minutes. Defensively, he failed to slow down De’Aaron Fox, who scored 31 points on 13-of-23 shooting and turned things up in the fourth quarter.

Dennis Schroder: D

For some reason, Schroder has played poorly of late after some great games just two weeks ago. He went just 2-of-6 on Wednesday and finished with five points, two assists and one assist in 26 minutes.

Wenyen Gabriel: B

Gabriel scored 10 points on 5-of-8 shooting and grabbed six rebounds, to go along with one assist, one steal and one blocked shot in 24 minutes. However, his effectiveness fell sharply after the first quarter, during which he scored six of his 10 points.

Kendrick Nunn: A

Nunn gave the Lakers the type of offensive lift from the bench they needed. He hit four 3-pointers and went 5-of-8 overall to finish with 14 points in 16 minutes.

Juan Toscano-Anderson: B-

In 11 minutes of spot duty, Toscano-Anderson contributed two made baskets, two rebounds and one assist.

Russell Westbrook: A-

Westbrook continued his recent torrid stretch with 19 points on 8-of-17 shooting, which included back-to-back 3-pointers early in the fourth quarter, seven rebounds, five assists, one steal and just two turnovers in 32 minutes.

The one blemish was his three missed free throws in four attempts, but Westbrook continues to make a major impact for the Lakers with minimal downside.

Max Christie: B

Christie wasn’t too efficient offensively, shooting 3-of-8 overall and 2-of-6 from downtown, but provided some spurts of energy on both ends of the floor. He ended up with 12 points, three rebounds, two steals and one assist in 27 minutes, and he even made it to the free throw line for four attempts, all of which he converted.

Story originally appeared on LeBron Wire